I was walking my dog, Guinness, in the local park the other day and saw a Boxer chasing a cat into the bushes. The cat was a stray, there’s quite a few of them that hang around this park. It got me thinking, are Cocker Spaniels good with cats?
The well-used cliche “Fighting Like Cats and Dogs” must have some truth to it right? Not necessarily. A young Cocker Spaniel pup that is trained from a very early age and socialized with cats almost immediately, will get along fine with a cat as well as any other dog.
If you are looking for some training tips and advice then I highly recommend you check out this online training resource.
Let’s have a look at some scenarios and examples of what to expect when a Cocker Spaniel and a cat are in the same room or garden.
When A Puppy Cocker Meets A Cat
Nine times out of 10, a puppy Cocker Spaniel has no fear and will dive straight into all situations. The personality of the Cocker Spaniel makes them a very easy going dog, especially when they are at their youngest.
Now, a fully grown cat may not take too kindly to this little rascal of a puppy diving straight into its face and wanting to play fight. We humans may find this type of behavior charming but nothing will be more annoying or stressful to a cat.
Remember, a fully grown cat with its sharp claws and razor-sharp teeth could do some serious damage to a fully grown dog, never mind a young puppy.
Make sure you lay down some ground rules as soon as you start introducing a puppy Cocker to a cat. If the cat lived in that house first, make sure the cat has a safe place to escape to and put your new puppy in its crate to give the cat some breathing space.
When An Adult Cocker Meets A Cat
Now, this can be a strange one. Having a look around on some forums there seems to be a massive difference of opinion as to whether an adult Cocker Spaniel can get along with a cat if they have only just met.
I have read post after post where the Cockers owner has said that their dog is fine around cats inside a house, even if that’s the first time they have ever seen that cat.
The general consensus is that most adult dogs and cats will simply ignore each other when they are in the same room, especially when their owners are there.
The same owners then go on to say that if their Cocker spots a cat when they are out and about on a walk etc, then the Cocker goes straight after the cat, chasing it as quick as they can and ignoring all the calls from their owner to stop and come back.
Cocker Spaniel Puppy And Kitten.
This is the ideal solution. Both a Cocker Spaniel puppy and a new kitten will have the same exuberance for their new life. They will both be inquisitive of everything as well as each other and will spend a lot of their time playing together as well as cuddling up together.
Apparently this won’t last.
In most scenarios, once both pets reach full maturity, there seems to be more of an acceptance of each other, a ‘tolerance’ maybe and they pretty much go about their day without interacting with each other.
It seems it’s the cat’s choice to start behaving like this as they mature quicker than a dog. A Cocker Spaniel it would seem, will continue to try and be friends and want to play with the cat but as we know, once a cat is older, they like to vanish and have their own space…..they certainly haven’t got the time or patience for a full of energy Cocker Spaniel.
What about A Kitten Meeting An Adult Cocker Spaniel
Ok, this is a tough one. There seem to be 2 common opinions on this.
The first opinion seems to forget about getting a kitten if you have a full-grown Cocker Spaniel. Bringing a kitten into your dog’s environment can prove very upsetting for an adult Cocker and it has been reported that A Cocker can get very jealous and aggressive in these situations.
The last thing you want is this scenario playing out. Your Cocker could do some serious damage to a kitten, even kill it…..I know that sounds extreme but its reality.
A few people have said they have introduced a kitten to a Cocker Spaniel without any problems but only because they had previously had a cat and their dog was used to them.
The other common opinion seems to be that a full-grown Cocker Spaniel will take the new kitten under its wing and help raise it. There are photos all over forums and Reddit with people sharing images of their kitten snuggling into their dogs, not just Cocker Spaniels either.
They do however say that once their kitten matured, their 2 pets drifted apart…..just like I said earlier on.
Preparing To Introduce A Cocker Spaniel To A Cat
If you are about to bring a Cocker Spaniel home or any dog, and you have a cat, there are a few things you should do and consider before your new pet arrives.
I read a great post on a forum where the op said she made sure that all her kitchen worktops and breakfast bar were pretty much fully cleared of any clutter.
Somebody replied asking why she did this and it was so her cat could leap out of the way if she felt any danger from the new dog. Once I read her reply it did seem pretty obvious but like the person who asked the question, before I read the answer I was asking myself the very same question.
The next thing I would suggest is blocking doorways or access to the stairs etc. Whether it’s using a stair gate, handy if you have young children in the house or just by blocking them off somehow, it’s the same principle as keeping high areas clear, it gives your cat a great escape route where your dog can’t get to the cat.
Another great tip is moving your cat’s food, water, bedding, etc out of reach of your new dog. This will allow your cat to go about its everyday normal life without having to worry about your new dog interfering.
EDIT: Do this week before you bring your new dog home. A Forum user says she made the mistake of moving her cat’s belongings the morning of the day she was getting her Cocker puppy. It upset her cat no end and took the cat weeks to adjust. The cat pretty much resented the puppy in the beginning and they ended up having no relationship whatsoever.
The Actual Introduction
Do not simply shove your puppy in front of the cat and expect them to be best friends. Like I said at the beginning of this post, a Cocker puppy won’t mind if you did this but it’s probably a cat’s worst nightmare. Well, not quite but you know what I mean.
Things must go slowly and be sure never to force things. If your cat displays any aggression, remove the puppy. It’s highly unlikely your puppy will show aggression due to a Cocker nature but obviously there is still a chance they could display some.
Do the same routine each time you introduce them to each other, eventually, they will be accustomed to what is happening. If either pet gets overly excited, go back to the beginning and start again.
If you’re lucky, they will get used to each other in a matter of days……in reality, you’re probably looking at months…..at least!!!
Getting Them Used To Each Other
A great method of getting a cat and dog used to each other is by their scent. One way you can do this is by rubbing some sort of blanket or towel and your puppy’s bedding area then leaving it next to your cat’s area and vice versa.
The idea is obviously to get each pet used to the scent given off by each other so the smell of another animal isn’t alien anymore.
One of the best bits of advice I read was let each animal explore the other living area. Now I’m under no illusion that your cat will be all over your dog’s bed etc when your pooch is out for a walk. Well, next time your cat is out and about doing it’s the thing, let your new puppy go exploring all among your cat’s belongings.
If you let them explore when the other one is present, expect one hell of an angry encounter, especially from your cat. Obviously your puppy won’t really know any better if your cat is in its bed, not yet anyway.
Use a dog crate or baby gate.
If you are still having problems introducing your new pet to your old, try putting your puppy inside its crate, on the other side of a stair gate if you have one or even put your cat inside its carry crate.
The idea behind this is to allow each of your pets to have a good old sniff of each other without the potential of them harming each other.
Other Behavior To Consider
Try having your dog on its lead. If your cat hisses or swipes a paw at your Cocker, you can pull your dog away from danger. If your cat takes off, make sure you keep hold of the leader as most dogs, if not every single dog in the world, will take off and chase any fleeing cat.
I’m not an expert nor do I claim to be, I just found myself asking ‘Are Cocker Spaniels Good With Cats?’ so figured I would try and do some research for anybody that’s interested…….hope I have helped somebody.
As for me, do I think my Guinness would be good with cats? Not a chance. He’s 12 years old and goes mental when a stranger comes into his home. I dread to think about what he would be like with a cat or another dog stepping on his territory.
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